Impact Factor: Colour me responsible

I am often overwhelmed by how many of the worlds problems could be solved by consumers. My previous post discussed how what we buy changes and affects the fashion industry; we have more control over what is popular than any fashion magazine. Therefore, if we support local fashions or buy environmentally safe products we can really make sweeping impacts on the industry as a whole.

And as frustrated as I can sometimes get with the seeming indifference of others to the power that they have, I know that I am often as guilty as those I jeer. Because in the end, it is not that we want to make the wrong decisions, rather that we are not empowered by knowledge.  Case in point, I just read a post about fabric dyes and the devastating impact they have on our water supply.

To summarise the article, apparently it takes about 2700 L and 0.3 lbs of chemicals to dye one cotton shirt, and most of those chemicals end up in our water supply.  But techniques have been developed that allow us to dye fabrics using no water. The post describe several different techniques from printing natural dyes onto fabrics to using carbon dioxide to spread the dye.

Once you read the article, and possibly feel a little stupid like i did for not knowing how important of an issue this is, hopefully your next thought will be “okay, so what can i do?” The article does identify some companies that are working to change their dye process, Nike being one company.  But it wasn’t easy to figure out which other companies are adopting these new processes.  And i think this really got to the root of the problem for me. I do not think i am helping to create a sustainable fashion industry because i don’t know where to find the information i need to make the right choices.

For example, i think that i am a very conscientious shopper for food products.  I read labels i source the more ethically produced foods, i know better than to get duped by any label that claims to be healthy. But it is easier, because they have to provide the nutritional information on the package. Granted, companies are still very sleazy and play with portion sizes and have shady practices with how they come up with the calorie information, but it gives me some information while i am shopping.  And at the end of the day, i can always fall back on the safe bet that if it didn’t come out of the ground, it is likely unhealthy. There isn’t really anything comparable when i buy clothing. I can see the fabrics, and see the country it was made in, which gives me some information, but i would like a lot more.

If there is a database out there with all this information, please let me know.  But for now, i did find this website that lists sustainable companies that i want to check out. If there are companies that you think should be supported, please share below. Information is power.